A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday, 15 April 2012

ECW - VwQ Rules - Pt 2

Here's the second lot of pages (of three lots). I had originally given serious thought to producing an adaptation of the game which worked on my hex grid - this would mean a conversion of 1 hex is (about) 5 or 6 inches. I have abandoned this for the time being because

(1) the differences in movement rates and weapon ranges for the different troop types in VwQ are quite specific and subtle (and hexes, as a crude approximation, might unbalance the game), and also because

(2) the nice twiddly bits about units routing 2D6 inches (3D6 for horse) or getting off a volley at a range of 2D6 inches if charged (1D6 if charged by foot) - things which usefully help reduce predictability for a solo game - would be changed completely by rounding everything to the nearer (or more convenient) whole hex.

So I'll keep the hexes as an interesting idea to be pursued, but my initial use of the game will be in inches, as written. I shall try to ignore the hexes on my tabletop when it is appropriate to do so, or I could paint the back of my boards plain green. Or I could dig out a rather fine sheet of heavy-duty green baize that I haven't seen for a while, but it is awfully dark green baize, and I think I've gone off that idea already...

Inches are fine in any case - the VwQ game as I played it at John's home in Wales recently was untweaked and the inches were not a problem at all, though in recent years I have developed something of an aversion to tape-measures as another source of clutter and potential breakage of bayonets! This is probably due to exposure to a number of congenital button-twiddlers in the past - a spring-loaded tape-measure in the wrong hands has an effect similar to that of canister shot!

Anyway - here is the next instalment of the rules.


  1. Answer to tape measures - make some measurin sticks, with the different ranges in different colours. Hopefully quick to use and satisfyingly Old School in appearance (think Bounce Sticks)

    1. Hi Clive - That's a good suggestion - slight snag for VwQ is that you need to be able to measure all sorts of odd distances (couriers travel 3D6 inches per turn, for example), so it would need to be a fully calibrated yardstick (literally), which would be capable of a fair amount of collateral damage too. Problem with thinking "bounce sticks" is it leads me inescapably to thinking "George Jeffrey", and then I have to go and sit down somewhere quiet for a while.

      I do have a set of pretty accurate biometric measures which are handy - full span of my right hand from thumb to pinky is 9", for example; if I make a right angle with my index finger and thumb then from the tip of my thumb to the point of the (imagined) angle is 3", and the index finger tip to the angle is 5". If I have a reliable measure for 9", then I can estimate 8 or 10, etc. It occurs to me that this system could be taken to ridiculous lengths (literally, again), so I'll stop there.

  2. I find that abandoning tape measures and fiddliness does get slightly addictive. A friend and I are adapting Basic Impetus to hexes and have had to make some hard choices about how far to bend the rules to fit vs just what sort of contortions we are willing to put up with for the sake of not changing. So for example we're on about the 4th or 5th attempt to capture the feel of variable length retreat/pursuit moves, the current one being essentially to make the rolls but only move the pursuer if he catches and not worrying about the actual movement. We also had to stretch all ranges& moves or everything became 1 or 2 hexes.

    But I'm sure you can figure that stuff out for VWQ when/if the time comes. Playing them straight up for a while to get the feel sounds like a good idea.


    1. That's right - rounding everything to 1 or 2 hexes is easy to remember and convenient to play, but a bit lacking in subtlety at times. I was discussing this point by email last year sometime, with a friend who likes to be known as Thor (whatever), and he said the only answer was to go for 1" hexes, and then, of course, it would make it easy to count the little hexes with a ruler.

      Hold on a minute....

  3. I have never played a "Hex-game" but can certainly see the attraction.
    However this is the ECW so it can really only be measured in "imperial-law-abiding-traditional-Daily-Mail-approved" inches!
    I am now considering a "firing stick" marked off in inches (red/white/blue!!) for my games mainly for traditional flavour and to reduce risks from tape measures.

    1. Absolutely correct, sir - and what about furlongs and chains? - I found myself standing to attention and saluting as I read your comment.

      You should also make up a patriotically decorated box with a slot in the top, and place one pound (a note, of course) in there to pay for the damage every time someone drops the bounce stick on top of the troops!

      Cheers - Tony


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